From left: Dana Hennis, P.E., S.E., CFSEI Vice Chair, Brian Skupien, R.A. Smith, Inc.



Photo Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc Advocate Aurora Health Care – Lake Villa Clinic
700 Park Avenue
Lake Villa, IL 60045

Owner: Advocate Aurora Health
Architect of Record: Joshua Christensen, HDR Architecture
Engineer of Record for Structural Work: Andrew Shaw, IMEG Corp.
Cold-Formed Steel Specialty Engineer: Brian Skupien, R.A. Smith, Inc.
Cold-Formed Steel Specialty Contractor: George Dombeck, The Rockwell Group
Award Entry Submitted by: Brian Skupien, R.A. Smith, Inc.

Project Background

The Advocate Aurora Health Clinic in Lake Villa, Illinois is a 20,000-square-foot single-story load-bearing building. The project consisted of load-bearing cold-formed steel (CFS) walls with CFS roof trusses. It also included a front entry that was constructed with structural steel and CFS bypass wall studs. The uniqueness of this project comes from the method of construction. “Pods” were built that included the CFS load-bearing studs and interior non-load-bearing wall studs. These Photo Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Incpods were built off-site, partially finished (including MEP, drywall, paint, and hanging some cabinetry), and then shipped to the job site and lifted into place with a crane. The CFS roof trusses were also panelized in much the same manner, preinstalling the roof diaphragm and some of the MEP.

The building was separated into four bays, with double load-bearing walls between each bay. The bays varied in width from 29 feet to nearly 56 feet.

Design Challenges and Solutions

Photo Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc The challenges for this project involved coordination between the trades and the additional framing/consideration/coordination required for the shipping and installation of the room pods. Additional flat strapping was installed at the corners and lifting points as well as increasing the top and bottom tracks of the room pods. Additional/Unique detailing was required. For example, since the drywall was preinstalled, the typical base detail with P.D.Fs connecting to concrete had to be modified. The pods also had to be connected to adjacent walls/pods.

The project was also a “prototype.” It is intended to be the first of many nearly identical structures that Aurora Health wants to build. This design/build method of constructing the pods and shipping them to the project site greatly speeds up the construction timeline. Keeping the future buildings very similar to the original also reduces project timelines and cost.

Photo Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc

One of the more challenging aspects of this project was creating continuity in the roof diaphragm. Since the roof trusses were panelized in 10’-0”-wide panels, in each of the four bays, load had to be transferred between each roof panel and into the X-braced walls. A combination of flat strapping and tracks was used to connect the roof panels together and transfer the load between them.

The pods vary in size, with most containing two or three rooms. The largest is about 400 square feet (40 feet long x 10 feet wide). The pods typically included both load-bearing walls and non-load-bearing partition walls. Since the load-bearing walls were part of the pods, the X-braced walls had to be designed and located to fit within a single pod’s dimensions. This created a challenge to locate and fit X-braced walls correctly. This challenge/design consideration would not have been present if the structure were built in the traditional stick framed method.

Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc.

Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc.

Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc.

Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc.

Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc.

Courtesy of R.A. Smith, Inc.